Years ago when I wrote CONTAGIOUS CULTURE (McGraw-Hill, 2015), people were surprised to find that when I talked about “creating a healthy culture,” I pointed them to first look at their own leadership health, and how they showed up, to actually create that culture. This was both confronting and liberating for many, after all, I can’t control my culture or the people around me, however, I can absolutely control ME; how I take care of myself, how I show up, the energy I bring to the table, and how I ultimately contribute to being the culture I want (or don’t want). This means I have tremendous power, this also means there may be big work to do.
My stance on culture created a lot of positive results as well as many questions for people, so I wrote my next book. In CONTAGIOUS YOU (McGraw-Hill, 2019), I dug deeper into the IEP Method® body of work and took people further into how to be their most positively and usefully contagious self (energetically, emotionally, behaviorally, and attitudinally) and how to strengthen their leadership in order to create the impact and culture they wanted. Again, confronting — however even more liberating if you did the work (at 384 pages, with an executive coaching program pretty much built into it, as one reader emailed me, "It’s not exactly a light read, Anese, but it is a game changer.").
Today, in the midst of a global pandemic, we are more aware than ever of how physically contagious we are. So much so that we rarely see each other, many of us are working remotely (with our kids in the background), our worlds have been flipped upside-down and inside-out in different ways, and our normal ways of connecting and giving and receiving love have changed. We’ve had to find new ways to connect remotely and love each other, and even more so, we’ve had to find new ways to connect with and love ourselves. At work and at home. (How’s it going?)
While our attention to physical contagiousness has elevated significantly, we also need to tend to how emotionally and energetically contagious we are.
Imagine treating the way you show up and the contagious energy you put out there -- and take on -- with the same care you treat contagious COVID. What would that look like for you? What would change?
We’re still doing business, raising kids, paying the bills, and leading our teams — which perhaps ironically is what makes the ideas of energetic hygiene, energetic contagiousness, and our self-care seem more daunting than ever (who has time!!??). AND YET, these things are more important than ever; they're necessary for our personal sustainability, how we show up has a tremendous impact on those we love and lead, and... we're worth it — we're worth feeling good, even when things may be hard.
There is no award for feeling exhausted all the time, and I don't know about you, but...RARELY have I ever seen great business (or personal) results come from exhaustion and misery in a way that didn't leave the team and culture injured.
This is my public service announcement for your own leadership nourishment, and an invitation to think about how this applies to you personally as a leader and culturally as an organization. (Consider the ripples, they're there.) It’s also a permission slip should anyone feel the need for a little external permission or validation to tend to your well-being right now. The people you love and lead, your impact, and your organizational health are counting on it.
A year into the pandemic and as we move further into 2021, leaders and companies that pay attention to this — to prioritizing the self-care and nourishment of its workforce and culture — will do exceedingly better than those who don’t. Just watch... I’m already seeing it. Are you?
If you’re having a hard time, feeling stuck here, wish to discuss, or need help — either individually or as an organization -- reach out. //AC